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Early goal leads Galaxy over Xoloitzcuintles

The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Xoloitzcuintles at the StubHub Center.
The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Xoloitzcuintles at the StubHub Center.

The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente 1-0 at the StubHub Center in the final home-leg game of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match-ups. The Galaxy took the lead in the 10th minute then slowly let the visiting team take control of the pitch.

Los Angeles came out pushing the Aztec dogs back onto their side of the field, showing a strong attack. The home side took the first shots on goal making Xolos keeper Cirilo Saucedo intervene to keep his net clean. But that would come to an end in the 10th minute when Irish international Robbie Keane received a pass in the area. He failed to control it, but with blind luck it escaped the Xolos defense. Brazilian Samuel Rosa Gonçalves ran in and hammered the ball past Saucedo for the only goal of the game.

With time ticking forward the rojinegros began to take control of the game. Argentine Cristian Pellerano took control of the attack and led a barrage of shots against goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. The Panamanian was able to show his ability under the three posts stopping everything, including offside call shots, from entering his net.

The Galaxy defense was also on mark catching Xolos off side on several plays. In fact, the offside play was the weakness for the Mexican side that was trying constantly to get on the board. As Xolos took control of the ball, the Galaxy fell back waiting for a counterstrike opportunity. While the galacticos were able to mount a few, they could not get close enough to make Saucedo uneasy. After the goal, Saucedo had little face time with the ball.

If there was a hero of the game it was Penedo who did everything to stop shot after shot from Tijuana. The dogs dominated the second half, but were not able to break the net. Argentine Dario Benedetto and Herculez Gomez entered late in the game and made a difference on the pitch. Had Cesar Farias made the substitutions earlier, the result could have been a different story.

The return leg is scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2014 at Caliente Stadium in Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana is trying to reach their first CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.

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